Melissa Mahoney


Studio E6

Abstract painting

Artist Statement

Melissa Mahoney (American, b. 1965) is an abstract painter whose work features dynamic, circular brushstrokes.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, she grew up in a family of artists. She studied at the University of Georgia where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She went on to complete graduate work in Cortona, Italy, studying calligraphy and hand lettering. Her calligraphy skills transferred to her abstract paintings, in which she uses a range of brushes including large, round, Chinese calligraphy brushes. 

Her early works show her technical mastery and emphasis on realism. Her interests later shifted to abstraction, moving further away from the subject and working with only color, form, and texture in her paintings. 

Mahoney is inspired by the Japanese aesthetic, especially the ensō, a Japanese word meaning “circle” that symbolizes strength and enlightenment. While an ensō is traditionally drawn in one continuous stroke, Melissa creates her circles with multiple brushstrokes and calls them Vortices. Her goal is to express balance and dynamic tension.

Both domestic and international collectors include Mahoney’s work in their portfolios. The US State Department recently selected one of her paintings for the US Ambassador’s Residence in Papua New Guinea. At TED2020 and at the TED2020 Staff Retreat, she led Art Discovery Sessions where and hands-on abstract painting workshops for TED attendees and staff. 

Mahoney’s home and studio are in Palo Alto, California.

Recent Works 


Luscious, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 in. Culinary series


Satiated, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 in. Culinary series


Translucency, 2020, from the Painting on Glass series

Contact Melissa